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Putting a Face on Atheism

Over the weekend, I was on the ReasonProject.org website and someone suggested that a good public relations move might be to put a more person face on atheism. Even though more and more people are starting to come out of the closet and let those around them know that they question the existence of God and other superstitions, it still seems that a lot of people don’t really know atheists in their families or in their communities.

One thing that has helped to put a more personally and more public face of atheism is that several big named Hollywood celebrities have made their atheism public. Among them are Bill Maher (of course), Joss Whedon (creator/writer/producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and The Dollhouse), and Seth MacFarlane, (creator/writer/voice actor of the Family Guy).

But those big names aside, we still need to let more of the mainstream public know that atheists are real people who don’t eat babies and/or worship the Devil. The more the mainstream people get to know their friendly neighborhood atheist, the less likely they will demonize our lack of belief in deities and other superstitions. Once the emotional component is taken out of the picture, we can have a reasonable discussion of the facts.

Someone else on the ReasonProject.org forum suggested we run a campaign similar to the “25 Random Things” note which frequents FaceBook and MySpace. With that in mind, I created the very self-serving “15 Questions for atheist” so that we can pass them around and let theists know more about us. Before I will present my list, I want to be sure to mention that I want everyone to feel free to pass it around to other atheists that you know and to pass your answers on to theists that you may know. Feel free to maybe even suggest more questions an share with us your experiences and reactions from theists after you have distributed your answers to them. So without further ado:

“15 Questions for Atheist”
1. What is your Name?
2. Where do you live?
3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
5. List five values that you feel are important.
6. What did you want to be when you were young?
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
9. How did your family take your realization?
10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
13. Do you worship the Devil?
14. Have you ever read the Bible?
15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net?

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  • Michelle

    “15 Questions for Atheist”
    1. What is your Name?
    Michelle.

    2. Where do you live?
    Polk County, Florida.

    3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
    Yes.

    4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
    Very moral. Much more so than most.

    5. List five values that you feel are important.
    Family, trust, honesty, caring, and giving. And not being a total moron.

    6. What did you want to be when you were young?
    A plastic surgeon, specializing in peditric burn care.

    7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    Working on being a better mother, friend, and person.

    8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
    Around my 19th birthday.

    9. How did your family take your realization?
    At first they thought it was a phase. Now they are ok with it, though I wouldn’t say pleased. My mom still hopes I’ll “find God” someday.

    10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
    I just never really thought about it before. After I took some philiosophy classes in college, I began to doubt.

    11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
    I’m much happier now that I know there is no God. I would never want to believe something that isn’t true/does not exist.

    12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
    None, although I snack on my baby boy’s toes and belly sometimes to illicit giggles.

    13. Do you worship the Devil?
    No, there’s no such thing. Buuuut, I do like heavy metal. So, maybe.

    14. Have you ever read the Bible?
    Yes, I read the entire Bible in college. I took Old and New Testament courses.

    15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net?
    Every week day!

  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    Yeah, I’ve been saying for awhile now that I’d like to see more atheist campaigns that focus on identifying ordinary and extraordinary people who happen to be atheists. And I’d like to see more atheist celebrities make their views more known. I can think of many more atheist celebrities: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Jack Nicholson, Keanu Reeves, Lance Armstrong, Bill Gates, Daniel Radcliff (That’s right, we got Harry Potter)–to name a few.

    “15 Questions for Atheist”
    1. Michael
    2. New Jersey
    3. Yes
    4. Very moral. More than most.
    5. Free speech, compassion, intellectual honesty, fighting for the rights of others, critical thinking
    6. A superhero or a Jedi
    7. Much more active in the atheist and skeptical communities
    8. 13 or 14
    9. It doesn’t come up much but they’ve grown to tolerate it
    10. There was never really a time when I believed in a god. I went from not really thinking about it to accepting that I don’t believe in one. But science has really been the biggest factor in making me an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
    11. Much happier not believing in the divine dictator
    12. Only about 6 or 7.
    13. No, only the Flying Spaghetti Monster
    14. Unfortunately, yes.
    15. Every weekday.

  • http://darthkiljoy.blogspot.com DarthKiljoy

    1. What is your Name?
    Tom

    2. Where do you live?
    Oregon

    3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
    Generally.

    4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
    Pretty moral. Above average.

    5. List five values that you feel are important.
    Free Speech, intelligence, honesty, ambition, care for your fellow man

    6. What did you want to be when you were young?
    Zookeeper, doctor, nurse

    7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Either a lawyer or somewhere in the realms of business

    8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
    15

    9. How did your family take your realization?
    Basically, I realized God was a rather unproductive imaginary friend.

    10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
    Public high school undoing the indoctrination of nine years of Catholic education.

    11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
    I’m much happier.

    12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
    None, but I do devour souls on a regular basis (I prefer going in through the kidneys).

    13. Do you worship the Devil? Nope, but we are drinking buddies.

    14. Have you ever read the Bible? Remember those nine years of Catholic education I mentioned earlier? Take a guess.

    15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net? Everyday for the daily blog.

  • Sandy

    1.Sandy
    2.Fort Worth Tx
    3.No
    4.Depends on the situation and/or subject
    5.Self respect,freedom/free thought, tolerance (though not practiced very well in the past, honesty, perseverance
    6.Musician
    7. Dead or hopefully making a living in the IT field, making music
    and babies
    8. 10 or so but didn’t put a lot of thought into it until 18 or 20
    9. Mom doesn’t care never talk about it much Gawd was never really apart of my families life. Though with the grands and some aunts and friends its always like “oh you’ll grow up one day, I still have hope in you”
    10. When my dad passed away from Crohns disease, and all the praying and loyalty of my family to gawd didn’t do anything. Began questioning life and death.
    11. Lack of belief doesn’t really dictate my mood, It doesn’t make live any more or less shitty.
    12. Well before it was a steady 2 to 3 times a day, mostly lunch and dinner. Now, maybe once a week, I’m getting older and babies are fattening.
    13. No, but I do sometimes walk with her.
    14. Very little, its too boring and tedious to read, I prefer books that have better flow. If it where written more like a modern fantasy novel then I would. I hate Shakespear as well, call me lazy if you will. Plus time is short and there are so many more better stories to read.
    15.Usually every post, if they catch my eye
    15.

  • http://myspace.com/mysticfreak Jared

    1. What is your Name?
    Jared, but you could call me Jebus, my friends do. I have a beard, and use to have long hair, that’s why.
    2. Where do you live?
    Hell *cough cough* excuse me, Palmdale CA
    3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
    yes, I supply cigarettes to people on the street who ask for them….even better, remember that long hair I said I use to have? I donated it to locks of love.
    4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
    on a scale of 1 to ten, 9.5.
    5. List five values that you feel are important.
    Free speech, embracing you’re imagination, respect for all, even those that don’t even return it, the endless search for the truth, and the golden rule.
    6. What did you want to be when you were young?
    A doctor
    7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    Hopefully an established fictional writer.
    8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
    Can’t say, it was a long period of watching my dad lose faith.
    9. How did your family take your realization?
    We all did it together. So fine. Now my distant relatives, cousins, aunts, uncles, they don’t know…yet.
    10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
    Listening to my dads philosophical discussions and arguments.
    11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
    Sometimes I wish I still believed, I exited the matrix, and want to go back. But really, I can’t say, it has been a long time since I believed, I was a small child.
    12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
    I think I had veal once….oh baby humans? mmmmm tasty. I mean none.
    13. Do you worship the Devil?
    Only through good ol rock in roll.
    14. Have you ever read the Bible?
    Nope, to freakin boring.
    15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net?
    When ever The A team posts a bulletin on myspace about it.

  • http://myspace David

    “15 Questions for Atheist”
    1. What is your Name?
    David

    2. Where do you live? Milan, Illinois

    3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
    Yes, very…I give more than most religious people id say.

    4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
    On a scale of 1-10…id say 9.5ish.

    5. List five values that you feel are important.
    Honesty, caring, love, tolerance, free thought.

    6. What did you want to be when you were young?
    Pilot.

    7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    No clue. I try not to plan that far ahead.

    8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
    I never really “believed” at any point in my life. I more or less just went through the motions. I decided to put my foot down around the age of 19 or 20. I was Catholic till I reached the age of reason, heh (thanks for the line George Carlin (RIP).

    9. How did your family take your realization?
    Very hard, my mother is a cradle Catholic. She still prays for my soul however.

    10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
    Common sense. The idea is just ignorant.

    11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
    MUCH happier! And pardon the pun but, HELL NO! I would be ignorant to want to believe in a made up person.

    12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
    None, but I have fathered two kids hehe.

    13. Do you worship the Devil?
    He is fake too. However, if god and the devil WERE real, I would rather be in hell anyway.

    14. Have you ever read the Bible?
    Yes, it is full of contradictions and ignorance.

    15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net?
    First time here, but I will be back daily now that I know of it!

  • http://www.myspace.com/itsahicke Her3tiK

    1. What is your Name?
    Chris

    2. Where do you live?
    SoCal

    3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
    With my time. Not my money.

    4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
    A little better than most, but nothing special

    5. List five values that you feel are important.
    Free speech, honesty, integrity, creativity, individuality

    6. What did you want to be when you were young?
    Marine. Oh, how times have changed…

    7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    Touring musician or dead.

    8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
    13-14

    9. How did your family take your realization?
    They don’t understand the difference between atheism and nihilism. Or polytheism and monotheism. They think I’ll “grow out of it.”

    10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
    Have you ever watched the news? Even the corporate garbage is pretty abysmal.

    11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
    More aware maybe. I’d say ignorance is bliss, all in all.

    12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
    Lucky for them, I’m vegetarian.

    13. Do you worship the Devil?
    Oh, all the time. You know us metal-head, liberal, pro-choice, socialist nutjobs… Fox News beware!

    14. Have you ever read the Bible?
    I got about to the flood before the glaring contradictions, plot holes, and otherwise plain dumb ideas made my eyes bleed. Now I just read quotes in context as they come up, to better understand how they relate to the conversation at hand.

    15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net?
    As time allows. Every other day or so usually.

  • Jason

    1. Jason
    2. Austin
    3. Yes. I donate money every month to a student organization, and try to donate to various charities throughout the year.
    4. Very.
    5. Honesty, Loyalty, Honor, Hard Work, Love
    6. A scientist
    7. I would like to be in partial retirement but I doubt I will get there.
    8. 19.
    9. Everyone avoids the subject, but they know how I feel.
    10. Reading. Discussions with atheist friends.
    11. I don’t think I am more or less happy. I think other things lead to happiness in my life. Perhaps I never believed that thoroughly in god.
    12. Weekly?
    13. I like deviled eggs, but I wouldn’t say I worship them.
    14. Yes, all the way through when I was in high school. I think I was trying to become a better Christian but instead I think it might have caused some doubt. That, and a girl I really like was a big-time Christian.
    15. I might have been here once or twice before.

  • sheherazade

    1. What is your Name?
    Laura

    2. Where do you live?
    Europe

    3. Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person?
    Not especially.

    4. How moral would you consider yourself to be on average?
    Pretty average.

    5. List five values that you feel are important.
    Free speech/thought, privacy, creativity (not only in the artsy sense), imagination, courage

    6. What did you want to be when you were young?
    Pilot, knight, pirate, vet, figure skater, firewoman, archaeologist, journalist, scientist, travel writer, filmmaker, translator, actor… just to name a few. ;)

    7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    Doing something different from what I do now (I get bored pretty quickly)

    8. At what age did you realize that there was no God?
    I just never really started believing in a god. I guess the change from “I don’t really care” to “I don’t believe” happened at around eight or nine.

    9. How did your family take your realization?
    They were perfectly fine with it.

    10. What led you to doubt the existence of God?
    As I said in answer to 8 – as a very small child, I simply didn’t realize the stories about god were supposed to be taken seriously, and the prayers in pre-school anything more than a slightly annoying ritual. I doubted from the very beginning.

    11. Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed?
    Can’t answer that, obviously.

    12. On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence?
    Lots. None of them human, though.

    13. Do you worship the Devil?

    14. Have you ever read the Bible?
    Not all of it. I tried, but I found it utterly unreadable. I have a soft spot for the trippy imagery of the book of revelations, though.

    15. Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net?
    I just stumbled across it for the first time.

    • Sue

      1) What is your name? – Sue
      2) Where do you live? – Connecticut
      3) Would you consider yourself to be a charitable person? – Not especially, if you mean giving $$
      4) How moral would you consider yourself to be on average? – Above average, but not perfect.
      5) List five values that you feel are important. – Honesty, help others, do no harm, kindness, question everything : )
      6) What did you want to be when you were young? – an artist
      7) Where do you see yourself in 10 years? – Somewhere on Earth.
      8) At what age did you realize that there was no God? – Don’t think I ever believed there was one.
      9) How did your family take your realization? – They weren’t too religious, so no problem.
      10) What led you to doubt the existence of God? – Nothing anyone ever said to try to convince me ever made sense.
      11) Are you happier now that you no longer believe in a God, or do you wish you still believed? – Never believed.
      12) On average, how many babies would you say you ate since you began doubting God’s existence? – Zero human babies, do chicken eggs count?
      13) Do you worship the Devil? – Not sure how you can tell the difference between god and the devil, but since I don’t worship any beings, the answer would be no.
      14) Have you ever read the Bible? – I tried to a few times, never could get through it.
      15) Have often do you visit DangerousTalk.net? – Just found it a day or two ago.